It's November. My goal is that the creamery will be ready to rock on January 15th. We have yet to obtain ANY permits. Needless to say, I’m feeling anxious and frustrated with the slow pace at which things seem to be moving. On Monday I had a massive migraine for the first time in many months, hmm… I wonder what could be the cause.
Lots needs to be done to get the creamery project moving, but daily life seems to be getting in my way. Fortunately Seana and Dave are dedicating a lot of their time, and are making most of our progress!
We’re currently trying to obtain permits for plumbing, electrical, and water use. I actually thought this part of the process would go much quicker than it has, since the structure is sound and not too much needs to be done, relatively speaking. But permits take a lot of planning and negotiating. And you have to be willing to revise your plan and negotiate more. So while it’s a full-time job to get these things figured out and crossed off the to-do list, we go to our real jobs during the day, and work on permits in the hours between.
This blog will chronicle the planning, permitting, financing (including exact dollar amounts) and building of a micro creamery on a ranch in Tomales, California. It will feature alternating posts from 2 different people, Seana Doughty and Marissa Thornton, who have joined forces to help each other achieve their cheesemaking dreams and goals. Allow us to introduce ourselves.....
At the end of June, I spent the best part of a week at Neal's Yard Creamery in Herefordshire learning and making cheese, crème fraiche and yoghurts with them. In the past I’ve made lots of social visits to Herefordshire in general and Neal’s Yard Creamery in particular so it was great to be back and to catch up with Charlie, Grainne, Conan, Holly, Finn and Rags the dog. Although initially Neal’s Yard Creamery and Neal's Yard Dairy were one and the same, the two parted ways after a few years when Charlie Westhead, until then an employee at Neal’s Yard Dairy working in the shop and driving around the country buying and selecting cheese, moved into cheesemaking and developed Neal’s Yard Creamery as a separate and sister company.
Since our first tasting of the Jasper Hill Cheese, I have been busy with my photo shows and HOME cheese making.
There have been several styles of cheeses made from my kitchen.
I have been experiencing a slight temperature consistency problem with my min-fridge "cheese cave" over the past couple of years in my cheese making. My cave has been running a little too cold for the cheese affinage (aging), average 50 to 55 degrees. Different styles of cheeses may require a slight variation in temp for ageing, some as low as 40 - 45 degrees which works quite well in the mini fridge but 50 - 55 is more difficult to obtain.
Here's a peek at what I've been up to...
I spent last weekend at Shelburne Farms, hangin' out in a 19th century bedroom with a sobering portrait of Napoleon staring at me from above my bed. Actually, I spent more time outside touring the property, the garden, the bakery, and of course the dairy. On Saturday I made cheese all day (or watched, at least). It was awesome. If you’re jealous, I’m sorry and I don’t blame you. The sweeping lawns/pastures and beautiful architecture in this pocket of Vermont are almost too good to be real.
Lucky for me and my fellow weekenders, the weather behaved the whole time (my sunburned nose is proof). Nat, the diplomatic and unflappable head cheesemaker, led our group through every level of the farm’s operation and even fed us fresh curds in the make room.
July 25th. Tonight's dinner was late and so, appropriately, quick. Blanched corn -- the first sweet stuff of the summer -- tossed with cracked pepper, torn garden basil, lemon cucumbers, brandywines, and Ploughgate Farm's Queso Fresco. A perfectly tangy and tender take on a cheese that's so seldom made right. Marisa Mauro was taught the authentic recipe and has started selling limited quantities at her local farmers markets. I was lucky enough to plea some off her at July 24th's Vermont Cheesemakers Festival, and it didn't last 24 hours.
This is why I have a love/hate relationship with the annual VT Festival: all us cheese lovers are able to try the fleeting side projects and small-production items, fall for them, then miss them.
Yesterday I moved from one apartment in Boston to another - a disgusting activity, given the temperature outdoors.
During the process, my moving-helpers and I decided to pull the empty drawers out of my dresser before carrying it down the stairs to the street.
This is when we found a handful of yellowed sheets of paper, wedged up in the interior crevices of my dresser.
I just got this inspiring little blog from Anya, a young contributor to our magazine:
Hello my name is Anya Firisen. I am ten years old and I wanted to make cheese. I thought that cheese making was interesting because I love cheese and I love to cook. So I thought, well why don’t I try to make the cheese that I love so much. So when my Mom got my Dad a book called “Home Cheese Making” by Ricki Carroll for his birthday, I really wanted to try it for myself. My Mom said, “You and Anya can make cheese together!” When we went over to our friends’ house their mom said “I booked a cheese making class but now I can’t go, do you want to go in my place?” Of course I said yes.